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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » February 27, 2015
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Chinese Learn About Poland
February 27, 2015   
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Chinese audiences have an opportunity to explore the history and culture of Poland in a new exhibition of Polish art in Beijing.

Entitled Treasures from Chopin’s Country. Polish Art from the 15th to 20th Century, the exhibition opened Feb. 6 at the Chinese National Museum near Tiananmen Square. It occupies 1,800 square meters in this prestigious venue, with enough room for over 350 items, including sculptures, paintings, handicrafts, weapons, medals and posters.

Designed specifically for large audiences, this is China’s first exhibition on this scale focusing on Polish art. Poland is a country that many locals either know nothing about or are only familiar with as the birthplace of composer Frederic Chopin.

The exhibition gives Chinese viewers an insight into the history and culture of a faraway country positioned somewhere between the East and West, in the heart of Europe. The animated map that opens the exhibition shows how Poland’s geographical location has determined the role that the country has played in relations between Europe and Asia. Visitors to the Chinese National Museum can see how Poland’s borders shifted through history and how the changes affected the country’s art and culture.

Visitors are then taken on a chronological tour through different historical periods in Poland, from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, including events such as the collapse of Poland as an independent state and the impact that had on Polish culture.

Chinese audiences can learn how art helped Poles retain their national identity while Poland was partitioned between three foreign powers in the 19th century, and how art was assigned a new role in newly independent Poland after World War I. Showcasing diverse trends in contemporary Polish art, the exhibition closes with a collection of internationally acclaimed Polish posters.

Prof. Maria Poprzęcka, the curator of the exhibition, says the items on show were meticulously selected to highlight the most distinctive features of Polish art. “We want to demonstrate all that is unique about Polish art, such as the important role historical painting played in the 19th century,” Poprzęcka says. “But we also want Chinese audiences to be able to connect with the art, so we draw their attention to things like oriental themes that were popular in the Polish Baroque.” A part of the exhibition focuses on Frederic Chopin, and on Warsaw as the city where he spent his younger years.

The exhibition at the Chinese National Museum was put together by the National Museum in Warsaw, the National Museums in Cracow and Poznań, and the Culture.pl website. The exhibition comes with a lavishly illustrated catalogue in Chinese and English containing essays on the history of Polish art and the National Museum in Warsaw.
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